A Naming Ceremony or Baby Naming as it is sometimes referred to is the perfect opportunity to bring your friends and family together, show off your new little one and make promises for their future together, without the traditional and full religious ceremony. Naming Ceremonies are also a fantastic way to welcome adopted children into the family, or to celebrate when two families are blending into one.
So how do you begin? What are the key steps to organising and arranging a Naming Ceremony? We are here to help with those questions!
Who will lead the Naming Ceremony?
Firstly, you need to find a Celebrant to officiate your special occasion. Your Naming Ceremony Celebrant will help you decide on the best format for your ceremony and write a beautifully personalised and meaningful service. As you know already, you’re in the right place to find your perfect Celebrant and you can easily search for the ideal match, check their reviews and availability for your chosen date.
What will the Naming Ceremony include?
A Naming Ceremony will introduce your child and can welcome them into your wider group of family and friends.
A typical ceremony will begin with an introduction to the wonder of children and Naming Ceremonies themselves, and is usually followed with a reading or poem.
The Celebrant will then formally name the child and this can be done in many ways, some of which may be personal to you.
Many Celebrants do this by simply stating the significance of your little ones name, and blessing this name through words. Others may choose to use water, light candles or are guided by the parents in the way they would like this to be done. For example if you have any traditions in your family, or religious beliefs, this may guide the formal naming section of the ceremony.
Parents, grandparents and your chosen guideparents (in a traditional ceremony these are the ‘godparents’), and/or siblings will then make promises and commitments to the child, along with any symbolic gestures and other readings or speeches.
Many Celebrants also offer certificates to the significant people in the ceremony along with the child as a lovely keepsake and reminder of the special day.
Where are Naming Ceremonies held?
Naming Ceremonies can be held in any location of your choice. Popular choices are in local village halls, hotels or even in gardens, be it your own or locally. The room can be decorated with flowers, balloon, ribbons or simply paper bunting, giving it a special feel as the celebration takes place with your colours and a theme.
If you are planning to have an outside ceremony, do consider having a backup in place to prepare for all weather conditions, and also ensure there are chairs available for any guests that may need them (elderly or pregnant guests for example).
Who should we invite?
This is of course entirely your choice and dependent on the location. If you are holding the ceremony in your garden for example, consider whether you will have everyone stand or be seated, as this will determine the number of guests you can have.
Will the Naming Ceremony include readings?
There are so many beautiful readings for Naming Ceremonies that could be read during the service. A passage from your favourite Paddington Bear book or some choice words from your favourite nursery rhyme, this is the part where you can truly personalise your ceremony as you have absolutely no restrictions with a Celebrant.
You can choose someone special to read or perhaps the parents would like to write their own. You might like a guideparent to do a reading, or grandparent, the choice is entirely yours but your Celebrant can help advise with this part of the ceremony.
Will we make promises and commitments?
During your Naming Ceremony, it is usual for the parents to say promises and commitments to your little one. They could also be made by siblings, grandparents and the supporting adults. Similar to a wedding ceremony, the promises can be either in statement form or a question posed by your Celebrant.
Your Celebrant can write the promises for you, or you may wish to make some yourself.
Can we choose Godparents?
Absolutely, however, you may not wish to call them Godparents. For Naming Ceremonies, Godparents are generally called Supporting Adults, Guardians, Guideparents or sometimes even Oddparents!
Your Guideparents will form part of your ceremony and make their own personal commitments to be supportive throughout their life. There is no set format as to how many you have, so this would be entirely your choice.
Will we light candles?
Yes you may include any symbolic gestures such as lighting candles in the ceremony as long as it is ok with the venue. Some Naming Ceremonies also include planting rose bushes, or flowers, passing around wishing stones, or our personal favourite, putting together a time capsule to be kept for when they reach 18!
Do people bring gifts to Naming Ceremonies?
As with any celebration, people may well bring gifts. If you would prefer no gifts, or a certain type, you can state this on your invitations.
What should we wear?
This may be influenced by your venue, the time of year, the theme or any other factor. If you are having a garden Naming Ceremony, then you may choose less formal attire for instance. If you are choosing to hold your Naming Ceremony in a hotel, then you may dress more formally, and your guests will follow suit.
It’s time to be creative!
You can be as creative as you like with your Naming Ceremony. You can decorate as you choose, include any readings, poems, speeches, or significant words as you choose, and select the timings that suit you. Your Celebrant will help guide you through ideas, inspiration and the choices you have to create a ceremony that suits you as a family.
A Naming Ceremony is a beautifully relaxed, personal and special occasion to share with your friends and family, and will create memories that last a lifetime.
Beautiful photographs provided by The little Photography Company.
Photographer Credit: Amber Varghese Photography